Friday, June 15, 2007
Impatiens - are flowers that most people plant in their yards come summer. They're cheap and colourful and are easy enough to maintain, with your underground automatic sprinkler and or gardener they're really no trouble for the busy Faux Hill executive. I always thought Impatiens were spelled impatients, as in lack of patience. I imagined that the clever pun loving botanist who named them had a good chorttle at his own expense upon coming up with the name. "By george I'm brilliant - when you plant impatients you don't have to be patient - these flowers provide instant colour!" Have I mentioned that I used to work in advertising? I've never felt so stupid when I looked on wikipedia the other day and realized the error of my ways.
Impatience, however, has been on my brain of late. Having been recently dumped - by someone who argued that he wasn't quite ready to be in the relationship I wanted, arguing I was looking for a husband, he wasn't (don't you love 2007 though, FYI? GAY MARRIAGE!!), was a bit of a harsh blow. When I finally sorted out the emotional upheaval of having my heart broken - the only lingering doubt was a fear for my own future. Why was I so impatient to settle into adulthood?
So like most other things - I blamed the Faux for latent feelings of neuroses. It's cheaper then therapy and really... WWSD? Actually I'll let you know what Sim Sim Sima would say, "therapy? total waste of money." Hi mom!
After much introspection I've identified two problems with the Faux Hill lifestyle and its effects on the spawn of its residents. (I know only two!)
1) The Faux raises the fear of failure [say it ten times really quickly].
Growing up amongst upper middle class affluence is a frightening prospect when you're 25 and trying to figure out your future. A certain fear of never being able to replicate your parents' success and buy the centre hall mock Tudor house you've been raised in is a very cognizant nightmare. Brynnah, now in New York, once wrote me an email when she was interning at a PR firm, "what if I end up making $35,000 for the rest of my life and living in Pickering." I know these aren't huge issues and perhaps sound spoiled (oh wait they are). People are in fact dying in Africa and all... but to quote my mother, "It's easier to have nothing and make something of yourself, then to." A good friend and I were walking in between our respective houses in the Village the other night because yes we both still live at home and as we walked through the manicured streets, we exchanged pleasantries with neighbours, before she finally turned to me in near tears and said: "is this where you thought you'd be at 25?" What she meant was, did you think you'd be living at home and waking up every day wondering if we would ever find happiness and job fulfillment (questionable at 25)? There were no words of comfort of course; what do you say when you're feeling the exact same thing and you realize that at 25 your parents were married and owned a house.
Problemo numero uno leads to the second issue:
2) The indecision of wealth. I sat with my friend Jer at Starbucks the other day. He admitted that at 24 he had no clue what to do with his life. I told him that like everyone else we know he was just indecisive. There were too many options on our table; our cup doth runeth over with suggestions. By the end of our convo he decided to spend a year in Australia, hoping a period of travel would provide some answers or at least delay the inevitable rush to law school. He admitted that everyone we knew was doing "something" travelling or studying abroad that he couldn't quite commit himself to anything.
Indecision is a mark of privilege I realize. And for a generation of youts whose baby boomer parents have indulged our every whim, no wonder why we have no patience for these intermittent years. Making decisions isn't quite so fun and let's face it - Faux Hillary's just want to have fun.
Another friend admitted that he wanted to fast-forward to his thirtieth birthday party. He pictured his wife and baby sitting around a dining room table presenting a cake to him. He actually contemplated dating a thirty year old whose biological clock was ticking so loudly that on their first date she literally asked him to bare her children. That odd sense of him actually found this attractive - instant family; no decisions had to be made.
Before we parted for coffee Jeremy said something mildly profound "ya know - we're lucky we don't have student debt." And he was correct - as Jer and I sat in a coffee shop drinking four dollar latte's wondering what we were going to do with our lives, I could count the number of people I know who were struggling to pay off their student debt wondering why they had to work two jobs to make ends meet.
That's the problem of course when you're part of a decadent generation (of which I'm only too happy to be a part of - no sense being high and mighty today). Money buys trips to Africa, a year or two spent teaching English in Japan as we try and find ourselves, aimlessly fearing the future and our own indecisiveness. But on the flip side, no one's dying, which probably makes matters that much worth. It's hard to feel sorry for yourself, when life isn't that awful.